Try these easy hacks to make being at home with your dog awesome!
So, you’re stuck at home. The entire crew and of course your beloved dogs! Just like the kids, now is a great time to keep them busy! These toys offer enrichment, build confidence, reduce mental energy, and some even provide tons of exercise. They can all be used as part of training! And the first half can be made at home with recycled items!
Hack Homemade Dog Toys
Collect Some Supplies:
- Boxes of all shapes and sizes (I like a tiny one, a few small ones, and then 1 medium, and 1 large. You can make with any boxes you have!
- Empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls
- Empty wrapping paper rolls
- Plastic jugs or thicker water bottles
- Wrapping paper, tissue paper, or news paper
- Drill with bit between 1/4″ and 1″
- Every empty box you can find
- Muffin Tin
- Tennis Balls
- Training Treats or Dry Food
- Big cans of food
- Old high pile rugs
- Old soft shirt
- Old socks
- Thin plastic bottles
- Old jeans
- Plastic cooking spoon
“Crazy Box Game”
Not for dogs that eat cardboard. Not for dogs that want to tear open packages from Amazon. Definitely requires supervision.
Items Required (or substitued creatively!):
- Toilet paper rolls, paper towel rules, or wrapping paper tubes
- Wrapping paper, news paper, or tissue paper
- Tons of boxes from your tons of Amazon purchases that you just dug out of the recycling because you love your dog
- Your dog’s favorite tiny pieces of treats
- Dental chew (optional)
Step 1. Take a few training treats and wrap them in news paper, wrapping paper, or tissue paper. Crumple.
Step 2. Stick the treat filled crumpled pieces of paper inside a toilet paper tube or paper towel roll tube. You could an empty wrapping paper roll too.
Step 3. Push in the cardboard around both openings so that the paper doesn’t fall out.
Step 4. Put a good treat or dental chew in the smal box.
Step 5. Put small box into another sized box. Fold box closed.
Step 6. Continue mixing, matching, and filling boxes until you run out.
Step 7. Fold the final box flaps in so that it stays closed.
Step 8. Let your dog destroy it.
Step 9. Laugh, and actually enjoy your after dinner appertiff without your dog acting cra cra.
Check back for more updates but I wanted you to know about these toys ASAP. Everything links to Amazon. The price is almost always better than in any store! Prices listed are approximate at time of post if purchased from Amazon.com.
Hands Down #1 Winner: Dog Flirt Teaser Pole $14
SYOOY Dog Extendable Teaser Wand Pet Teasing Flirt Pole Interactive Toy with 1 Cotton Chewing Rope for Training Exercising Pulling
This thing is a beast that just keeps on entertaining. Fantasic training tool. Even better sleeping tool. Play with this thing for 10 minutes and watch your dog crash hard after running non-stop. (Having the time of his life!)
Best Toy for Destructive Dogs: The Buster Cube $15
Also known as my “food bowl”. I feed a lot of meals in this thing. Simply open and dump dry dog kibble in. Treats fall out as it rolls around. Mine is a whopping 8 years old! At 6″ with rounded corners, it is just literally impossible for our dogs to pick this up. If they can’t pick it up, they can’t chew it.
Say No More: The Infamous Kong Toy $10-$25
KONG – Extreme Dog Toy – Toughest Natural Rubber, Black – Fun to Chew, Chase and Fetch – For Large Dogs
Famous for a reason! Do more than stick a few treats inside… that’s boring! This can be the most entertaining toy in your arsenal. To introduce to your dog, smear a tiny bit of peanut butter around the inside room. To make it harder, freeze it.
Extreme Mode: Stuff with ALL KINDS OF STUFF! For ideas, check out my blog post. The black “Extreme” Kong is pit bull tough. I own 6. That means at any given time, I have a few of these babies frozen and ready to go for my kiddo.
The Hottest Craze in Dog Enrichment: Licki Mat $11
Extreme Mode: Use wet stuff as “glue” on the bottom of the mat. Stick pieces of dry dog food on top and freeze.
Licking has also been shown to reduce stress levels!
My Top Toy of 2020: The Foobler $23
This is NOT your average treat dispensing toy! Six time released compartments open at set intervals of 15 minutes, 30, minutes, or more. At the start of the next interval, the ball with DING! letting your dog know the toy is now open for delivery. (P.S. Your dog WILL learn what the ding means!)
Challenging Toy: Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug $9
The bottom unscrews and you can add dry dog kibble or treats. Your dog must figure out how to pull the rope in just the right way so that the treats fall out. This was way TOO HARD for my dog. We simply pulled the rope out and it still challenges him!
Entertain and Slow Fast Eaters: Fun Feeder $10
Feeding your dog’s dry meal out of this can really make eating a lot more fun! Instead of scarfing down every morsel, this toy makes your dog work, lick, and paw to earn his meal. I like to use canned dog food or pumpkin as a glue. Then I press dry food on top and freeze it. Don’t forget to freeze it!
Balls for Ball Dogs and Everyone Else: Food Dispensing Ball $11 for 2
I ordered this on a whim and I am sold!! These balls have “shark teeth” that can be opened and small bits of treats or food can be stuck inside. Sometimes I’ll stick a dental chew through the whole in the middle. Not every dog loves balls, but every dog loves balls with food!
Puzzle Toy: Treat Toy with Slow Feeder Bowl $25
This toy is nuts! Fill the green part with food and watch as your dog nudges, paws, or even licks trying to knock the food from the cylinder. As if that weren’t tricky enough, after falling from the cylinder the dog must manage to lick up fallen pieces from the maze on bottom.
Coolest Frisbee $13
My Husband’s Pick: Tennis Ball Launcher
My husband loves to play rough, crazy, and well a little manly with my dog. He loves shooting these balls into oblivion for our dog to fetch. He also has my dog “say please” for this game. Before shooting the next ball, my husband waits for my dog to sit politely and give him eye contact.
(and while you’re at it, save a pop bottle or milk jug, too!)
And in case you didn’t think of it… this is a great time to train!
Using positive reinforcement training games can give your dog an opportunity to build confidence, learn new manners, behave more calmly, and can simply make your life more fun!
Some tricks to consider teaching:
- Sitting politely for petting
- Crawling under your legs
- Going through your legs
- Nudging your hand when you say “touch”
- Catching treats
- Stay while your knock on the door
- Jumping over short, low objects (Know your dog’s fitness level before using anything tall!)
- Weaving around cones or cans of food or dog toys
- Hide and seek – Seek the person or the treat or toy
These are the treats I’m using these days:
Big Training Treats: Pet Botanics
Small (and Cheap) Training Treats: Lil’ Bitz
Super High Value & Super Low Cost
When getting attention is tough, or emotions are high, only a stinky, high value reward will do. This is an entire FULL POUND of dehydrated lamb lung. This goes for about $8 on Amazon… or $25 at the store. Made in USA.
Super Handy: Treat Pouch
This is by no means a neccesity. But it sure makes my life easier! I can reward fast as lightening to maximize my training effiency when I wear this belted pouch.
“Off Leash”: 20 Foot Training Lead
Take your dog “off leash” like you’ve always dreamed. Use this super long 20ft leash to keep your dog attached to you at all times but with a feeling of freedom. This is an awesome opportunity to teach your dog to come from a distance.
Check back for more ideas to keep dogs, busy, safe, and happy!